Media Contact:

Carol Bookhout, Public Information Officer

Media Line: (417)326-7250

Polk County moves to Phase2-Step2 of COVID-19 Recovery Plan on May 21

POLK COUNTY, MO 5/18/2020 – Polk County moves to Phase 2-Step 2 of its COVID-19 Response and Recovery Plan starting 12:01a.m. Thursday, May 21, in alignment with the Recovery Plan released April 29, 2020 by the Polk County Health Center. 

“Data is collected each day regarding the achievement of four elements needed to assure public health and safety, says Michelle Morris, Polk County Health Center Administrator. Those elements assess the number of cases, availability of hospital beds, testing capabilities and contact tracing monitoring.  Currently, Polk County has maintained high levels of progress in each area.”

Moving to the next step is of the Recovery Plan is a collaborative decision by officials from Polk County, the City of Bolivar and Citizens Memorial Hospital.  The transition into future steps and into Phase 3 will be determined by the data collected by the Polk County Health Center epidemiology team as they examine daily the impact of the virus on the community.

“We continue to see success as a community because we are making physical distancing, hand hygiene and sanitation a priority in business, home and personally. We appreciate the cooperation and support from local government, business and residents of Polk County,” Morris says.

Step 2 continues the reopening of communities by relaxing the occupancy limitations and begins to resume mass gatherings on a limited basis.  All interactions within the community are required to maintain physical distancing strategies.  High risk individuals should continue to limit interactions to those that are considered vital

Business/Organizations:  Current essential, non-retail, businesses and organizations will continue operations.  For all other business and organizations, occupancy restrictions are relaxed more while maintaining 6 foot spacing in all areas possible.  All businesses and organizations must continue to apply physical distancing standards in all facilities.  When possible, operations should be conducted remotely.

Mass gatherings:  Mass gatherings of less than 150 individuals may resume.  The limitation of 150 individuals pertains to all individuals at an event or location.  The total number of individuals may not be divided among different portions of a location, for example, different rooms or fields.  All mass gatherings are required to apply physical distancing standards, and if physical distancing standards cannot be met, the gathering must be postponed or cancelled.

Churches:  Churches may hold in-person services as long as the social distancing requirements are followed.  However, common practices that may occur with worship services, such as hand shaking and shared communion cups, should be avoided.  Places of worship are also encouraged to continue use of alternative means of services through streaming services and other opportunities.  Mass gathering limitations do not apply to churches.

All vulnerable individuals should continue to shelter in place.  Members of households with vulnerable residents should be aware that by returning to work or other environments where distancing is not practical, they could carry the virus back home.  Precautions should be taken to isolate from vulnerable residents.

Visits to senior living facilities and hospitals should be prohibited.  Those who do interact with residents and patients must adhere to strict protocols regarding hygiene.

Schools:  All schools are permitted to reopen.  Physical distancing and personal protection strategies should be applied to full capability.  Protocols should be implemented regarding regular hand hygiene of students, teachers and staff as well as routine cleaning procedures.  Mass gathering limitations do not apply to schools.

Minimize travel to essential travel only and adhere to Center for Disease Control Guidelines regarding isolation following travel.  If travel is required internationally or to areas where there are outbreaks of the virus, 14-day isolation is recommended.

For more information about the Response and Recovery plan contact our office at 417.326.7250